Our first healing massage

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Let’s agree that the lady who gives massages is masahista in Pilipino. The masahista has been an integral part of our local culture. My grandmother had one. So did my mother. I inherited her. She was not very good at massage. Eventually she volunteered to be my cleaning lady. One day, in a pout, she broke one of my treasured clay birds. I told her not to come back, thus ending my weekly massages. That was a long time ago.

Now my life has changed. I married a man with household help — a hunk of a driver and a tiny woman. When my husband had his stroke followed by his falls, our driver began to spend nights with us to help Loy — that’s the name of my husband — on his trips around our home. He now walks with a cane for his balance. I used to help him but when we both fell we agreed that Noy — that’s the name of the driver — should be the one to assist. Noy is stronger than me.

Noy recommended a masahista who was his neighbor. “She is very good,” he said, “she helped my brother when he had an accident and damaged his shoulder. Doctors said he could not work anymore but she cured him with a few massages. He went back to work.” So we said, “Please bring her over.”

She is a small woman. She gave my husband a three-hour massage, which, in his typical short statements, he said hurt some, but finally was very good. Since then he has been walking alone with his cane and he has not fallen down. You don’t know what a relief that is for me. I always watch him discreetly. First he sits up in bed, enough time to get his balance. Then he holds on to our swivel chair, gets up, doesn’t move until he gets his balance. Then he walks a few steps with the chair to pick up his cane. Then he walks into the bathroom holding on to the doorframe.

When he returns he reaches for the chair back, walks a little to hang his cane where he likes to put it and pushes the chair back to the bed where I, awake, am holding his beloved pillow out of the way so he can crawl on the bed and lie down. Then I hand him his pillow and we both go back to sleep. This has been going on for three weeks now. Loy is getting much better.

I continue to have backaches. I made an appointment with the masahista. But you have to send for her and take her home and she lives in Montalban, which is not a stone’s throw away from us. Finally, I had her massage. It hurt sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But it was a different kind of massage.

You have to prepare oil for her. I like the extra strong Efficascent Oil that I buy in the supermarket. Then she traces your veins and your muscles and tells you what is wrong with you. My shoulders where, as a woman, I have carried the world all my life, she immediately detected. She told me my husband and I both lack exercise. That’s why we get along. We both love to sit and lie down. She tells you what she’s hitting and that it will hurt but just be a little patient and it will stop hurting. You know what? She tells the truth.

She talks to you about people she has healed. A three-year-old little boy who had polio. She has been massaging him and now his foot that used to walk on tiptoe can walk flat. She speaks of patients who were once wheelchair-bound but now can walk. I realize she is not just a masahista. She is a serious healer.

“How do you know all this?” I ask her. “I think I was born instinctively knowing the human anatomy, what to touch when someone is not well,” she says, “but then I also took lessons in massage therapy so I could have the credentials. When I was studying my professor asked me why I had enrolled when I seemed to know everything they were teaching. I told him I just needed the credentials.”

I am very impressed with this little lady who gives much more than a massage. Of course, my back still hurts but less than it did initially. After all, that was my first massage. Her name is Juliet Echavia and her cell phone number is 0997-150-6649. You can call her. She charges P500/hour and your first massage may be three hours. But remember, you have to send for her and have her brought home. Or if you can tell her how to go to your house she might come, but you have to refund her for her transportation costs.

If you call her, please tell her you read about her in my column. I would like to know how many readers listen to me.

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Please text your comments to 0998-991-2287.

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